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British Muslims attacked by Israel forces during prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque

April 17, 2024 at 2:51 pm

An aerial view of thousands of Palestinian worshipers gather to break their fast on the last Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan and perform prayer on the night of Laylat al-Qadr at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, despite Israeli restrictions on April 5, 2024 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

A group of British Muslims visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem claimed they were forcibly removed and assaulted by Israeli forces, denouncing the incident as a restriction on worship and a blatant violation of human rights, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to eyewitnesses, Raz Ahmed, Ismail Hasan and Syed Ibrahim, they were targeted by Israeli soldiers while performing prayers at the Bab Al-Rahma prayer hall inside the Mosque complex on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr.

“We were in Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Bab Al-Rahma Masjid, which is on the left side of the Dome of the Rock, and we were praying. I sat down and then a man, who was probably about 6 feet tall, came and pulled me literally with a lot of force,” Syed Ibrahim said.

“He dragged me out. He put his boots on top of my feet quite hard. Then, again, that same person with a baton hit me again, and hit my watch. He cracked my watch into pieces. The Israeli soldiers were causing commotion for absolutely no reason,” he added.

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Ismail Hasan, who attempted to record the Mosque raid, described his experience, saying: “One of the soldiers pointed me out and said, ‘Look, he’s recording.’ So they grabbed me by the t-shirt, and pushed me outside, punching my back and kicking my legs.”

“I knew what they were trying to do. They’re trying to intimidate me just to get a reaction. So I was just smiling, saying what did I do? What did I do? And I know the cowards, because if you look at them in the eye and ask them, they look away, they cannot answer,” Hasan said.

‘He pointed a gun in my face’

Raz Ahmed, another witness to the violence, said his prayer was interrupted due to the Israeli soldiers’ raid.

“A soldier pushed me, but I did not move. He pushed me again and told me to go to the corner,” Ahmed said.

“I said listen, we are here to pray. At that point, one of the guys pointed a gun in my face, and then chest. I said what?” he said.

“And then he just put it down and said don’t move. What they were doing was to intimidate us for no reason at all,” he added.

Drawing attention to the fact that Muslims have not been able to worship freely in Palestine, Ahmed said: “This is something the Palestinian people face every day. This is an open apartheid system. We are experiencing it now, but the Palestinian people face this every day. And let’s not forget the genocide happening in Gaza. Everything is interconnected.”

UK-based advocacy group, CAGE, on X urged British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, to condemn the attack on these British worshipers by the Israeli soldiers.

“The apartheid entity that the govt unequivocally supports is currently under investigation by the ICJ for the intent to commit genocide as Israel continues to wage its war against the Palestinian people of Gaza,” CAGE said.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since a 7 October cross-border attack led by Hamas, in which some 1,200 Israelis were killed.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

Nearly 33,900 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 76,500 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water, and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice which, in January, issued an interim ruling ordering Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide, and guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: US ‘increasingly concerned’ by soaring violence against Palestinians in West Bank